New Year’s Eve – 2017 Resolutions

We just got home from our trip to Utah. We were there from the 18th to the 28th of December and it was wonderful. We ate a lot of good and spent a lot of time with my family and our friends.

Gabby still hasn’t warmed up to Zach, but she did play with him a few times and we made cookies for Santa together.

It was nice to be home in Utah! I have been in a complete rut lately. Normally, I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. But this year, I am going to make a few to try and give myself a boost to feel better and have a happy year here in Seattle with Zach. Here are two resolutions from my extensive list:

  1. Make More Friends
  2. Practice Living in the Moment

I know both of these will be a ton of work for me. Making friends has never been one of my strong skills, I think it is mostly because I have always been so close to my family so I didn’t need as many friends and, I’m a little bit introverted. I don’t like crowds at ALL. For the second one, I’m going to battling against my anxious/worry-wart nature. I really want to commit myself though because I think both of these resolutions will help me have a better year and better life overall.

So, for the first:

Physically, I live in Seattle. Mentally, I’m in  Utah. All my family and friends are there and almost everyone that I talk to. I ever work with people in Utah! I don’t want it this way… I want to be happy where I am and explore my new city, which everyone is telling me is such a cool place to be.

So, I have a couple of ideas. First, make more friends here! I have a couple and that is a good start, but a few more would be great. This is especially important for different activities.

My current Seattle friends are great to grab a drink with or to sit on the couch and chat with. But would they want to go on a rigorous hike with me or want to grab last minute pedicures? I don’t know, I haven’t asked them. But, my real point is — it is good to have a lot of different friends for a lot of different things.

What I really need is someone I can laugh with. Whenever I make a joke and someone doesn’t get it or takes it too seriously, I have a Lizzie Bennet moment:

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How am I going to make friends here?

I tried volunteering at PAWS as a way to meet people, but that hasn’t gone as I thought it would. So, now I’m asking for setups! I’m asking friends who know people here to setup me up with them. I’ve also signed up for a “dating” app just for friends called, Hey Vina. It already has given me a couple of promising starts! Finally, I’m just being more aggressive. When I see someone I like and have a nice conversation, I invite them to hangout instead of just letting them walk away. Creepy!

The second resolution is going to be much harder! Even though making friends isn’t a strong point for me, being mindful is even more of a weak point. Like I said, it has been anxiety attack central over here and in the past I’ve had long bouts of depression and anxiety. I don’t want to get trapped in it.

To be more mindful, I’m going to start with meditation and self-help podcasts. I have a couple that I love a lot already; Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

When we first moved here, I couldn’t get a gym pass because Zach’s benefits didn’t start until school started. So, I would “workout” by walking around the surrounding neighborhoods while listening to podcasts. I didn’t realize how good it was for me mentally, until I started going to the gym every day. I really missed that quiet downtime or just walking around with my thoughts and podcasts.

If podcast-walking doesn’t help as much as I want it to, and really, I’m not sure it will, I’m going to go and talk to someone. I think counselors can be very helpful when you are having a hard time and need some action items for improving.

I want 2017 to be the best year ever. I’m sick of waiting to be happy. It isn’t going to happen unless I make it happen. Seattle can be great. I need to change my mindset. Zach is great and I love being married. I have a lot of great starting points, now I just need to get the gears in motion.

 

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Vegan Hot Buttered Rum

Whenever I try to make something new, especially something that is not vegan to begin with but that I have to make vegan, I go to the internet and read a ton of recipes. Usually, between five or ten, but sometimes more.

When it is finally time to make the thing, I leave the recipes behind and put something together using whatever I decided to take away from each recipe — or more realistically, what I can remember from each recipe.

This amounts to me leaving out the parts that sound gross and adding stuff that I think might work, even if no recipe called for it. For example, I like to add spice to everything. Even things that no one would ever want to eat a spicy version of.

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Some like it hot.

This means one of two things happen when I cook; it tastes gross and we never want to have it again or it tastes AMAZING but nothing like the original. Zach is a really lucky man.

Earlier this week, I made torta. The first of those things happened. I mainly left out the non-vegan ingredients without replacing anything, so we ended up with weird, mushy potatoes. I mean … it was potatoes … so I still ate everything. But, it could’ve been much better.

Tonight, in an attempt to redeem myself, I made hot buttered rum. It didn’t turn out too bad! If you make this recipe and think it is gross, then just add more rum and you won’t remember whether you liked it or not.

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Makes four to five servings.

I like the idea of making the mix and adding the rum later. This is good if you have little ones or non-drinkers in the family who also want to enjoy a cozy drink.

  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
  • Dash of Vanilla
  • 2 Cups of Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • Orange Zest (optional)
  • Vegan Whipped Cream (optional)
  • A Dash of Red Chili (COMPLETELY optional)

Add everything but the butter into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and add the butter. Stir until it melts completely.

To make into a cocktail, add one shot of spiced brown rum into a mug and 1/2 a shot of white rum. Add one to 1 1/2 cups of mix.

Enjoy!

Five Ways to Create Holiday Cheer

Being away from home is hard! Being away from home during the holidays is even harder. It’s only been in the last couple years that I have had to spend any time away from my family during the holidays. While it has been difficult, I’ve decided that this year I’m going to keep my spirits up with some FORCED holiday cheer.

Recreate Your Traditions

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At first, it’s hard to carry out a holiday tradition when you aren’t around those you love. However, once I started to recreate some of my favorite holiday traditions, I started to feel better and less homesick. Yes, I cried. Yes, I felt sad for a little while. But, once the tears were finished, I was able to focus on all of the happy memories I had and even make some new ones with Zach.

Pick One Festive Thing to Do Every Day

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How many times will I watch Love Actually this year? SO MANY

This tip comes from my very smart friend, Caitlin. She suggested doing one festive thing every day in December, an anti-homesickness advent calendar if you will. As I write this post, it’s only December 2nd, but even in the days leading up to December I started to have fun planning out all of the fun, festive things I am going to do this month.

Send Cards

Just because you are far away from your family and friends doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them in meaningful ways. Communication is so instant now, but there is value in sitting down and writing someone a card. My friend Amy and I love to send cards back and forth. After a long day of missing home, there is nothing I love more than seeing something from a friend in my mailbox.

Host a Party

This is not something I have done. I know if I try to do it, it will be difficult for me to get over the social anxiety. That’s not always a bad thing though! Hosting a party or event in the place you live in now is one big step toward putting down roots and making it home.

One struggle I have is that Seattle is where I live, but it isn’t home. I spend my days here, but spend most of my time still trying to interact with my life in Utah. By engaging with some of the wonderful people here and inviting them into my space, I’m beginning the process of making this city feel like home (even if I’m not ready to give it that title).

Share the Love

This is something that comes up every year — holiday giving! But, I will argue that it has never been more important than this year. 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of people; personally, professionally and nationally.

Be kind to people. You don’t have to understand or even like them, but we can try to treat each other well. If you can’t treat someone well, then just walk away instead of saying something unkind.

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One awakening for me has been moving here. Seattle has the third-highest, per-capita homeless population in the nation. Every day I’m reminded of how lucky I am with what I have and that even when I am feeling low, there is always more I can do to make someone else’s world a better place. This is not something I was ever confronted with in my safe-Utah bubble.

This month, I am determined to do better! I will be cheerful with the upcoming holidays! While being away for Thanksgiving was hard, I am going to make Seattle much more homey and put in some effort. If all else fails, only two and a half weeks until I get to visit Utah again.